Benefits of Eating Seasonal Fruit & Veggies


Hope you’re having a great summer! Summer is a time for sun, fun and delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables. There’s nothing like going to the farmers market and filling your basket with fresh produce for the season. Taking that first bite of a ripe plum or slurping watermelon always brings me back to summers at the beach. What are some of your favorite summer fruits and veggies?

Have you ever wondered why certain vegetables are more abundant in certain seasons? I find it amazing how nature’s produce cycle actually supports our body’s needs, and gently leads us from season to season. For example, our bodies require more water in the summer months, and summer vegetables, such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and fruit like plums and watermelon help us stay hydrated and cool. In the fall, transition foods, such as apples and root vegetables, help us acclimate to the upcoming cooler months. Pretty neat, right?

There are many reasons to eat seasonally (and locally, if you can). Seasonal eating is kinder to the environment, requiring fewer pesticides and chemicals to nurture growth. Eating within the season also reduces the need for preservatives. Seasonal foods are grown locally, which reduces fuel and transportation costs – often called “food mileage” or “food’s carbon footprint.” And, if it’s not being shipped from where the produce is in season (most likely from overseas), it doesn’t contain overseas contaminates – just because a pesticide is illegal in the U.S. doesn’t mean foreign countries have the same policies on produce. In addition, seasonal foods can grow naturally in the sun and optimal weather, providing more antioxidants for our good health. And it just tastes better when it’s naturally grown and harvested at the right time!

Here’s a list of delicious fruits and vegetables and two of my favorite recipes (below) to enjoy this summer:

SUMMER VEGGIES

Artichoke Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Antioxidants - Good for your heart and may help lower the risk of infection. Protein - Used to build and repair muscle tissue. Folate - Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function.

Arugula Antioxidants - Good for your heart and may help lower the risk of infection. Vitamin A (beta-carotene) - Promotes healthy skin, boosts the immune system and is good for eye health. Kaempferol - Aids in fighting diseases.

Asparagus Folate - Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function. Inulin - Aids in digestion. Antioxidants - Good for your heart and may help lower the risk of infection. Protein - Used to build and repair muscle tissue.

Beets Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Folate - Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function. Manganese - Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function.

Cucumbers Lignans- Helps aid inflammation. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function.

Eggplant Manganese - Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation. Thiamin - Provides energy to the body by helping convert carbohydrates to energy. Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Folate - Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function. Vitamin K - Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease.

Onion Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Folate - Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function. Manganese - Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation.

Tomato Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Vitamin A - Plays an important role in bone growth. Vitamin K - Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function. Manganese - Helps prevent osteoporosis and inflammation. Antioxidants - Good for your heart and may help lower the risk of infection.

Zucchini Vitamin B2 - Promotes overall growth and good health by converting carbs, proteins and fats into energy. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function and blood pressure. Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels.

SUMMER FRUITS

Avocados Potassium - aids in nerve and muscle function. Omega 3 - help improve brain function, metabolism, and bone, skin and hair growth. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Vitamin K - Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease.

Blackberries Antioxidants - Aids in cardiovascular health, brain function (including memory) and cancer prevention. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Pectin - Aids in fighting disease and is very healthy for your heart.

Blueberries Antioxidants (polyphenols) - Aids in cardiovascular health, brain function (including memory) and cancer prevention. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Vitamin K - Helps blood to clot, plays essential role in building strong bones and helps prevent heart disease.

Cherries Antioxidants - Helps fight disease and contains lots of nutrients. Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function. Anthocyanins - Helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes. Anti-inflammatories - Relieves pain for arthritis.

Grapefruit Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Vitamin A - Plays an important role in bone growth. Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function. Lycopene - Helps fight disease.

Mangos Vitamin A - Plays an important role in bone growth. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Fiber - and lots of it! Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function.

Oranges Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Limonin - Helps fight cancer. Thiamin - Provides energy to the body by helping convert carbohydrates to energy. Folate - Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy and boosts cognitive function.

Peaches Vitamin A - Plays an important role in bone growth. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Vitamin E - Helps protect the heart and eyes.

Plums Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Fiber - Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels.

Strawberries Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Fiber- Aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Folate- Protects your heart, helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, boosts cognitive function. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function.

Watermelon Inflammation-fighting antioxidants - Reduces the risk of macular degeneration and prostate cancer. Vitamin C - Protects against immune system deficiencies. Vitamin A - Plays an important role in bone growth. Potassium - Aids in nerve and muscle function. Water - Hydrates! (especially important on hot summer days).

For the nutritional value of seasonal fruits in your area, check out the Seasonal Food Guide.

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